What Do Computer Systems Analysts Do?
Computer Systems Analysts are key to the smooth workings of almost all business organizations today. Their most important functions are to analyze, design, create, and test computerized software and hardware systems to automate specific tasks. The systems may be simple or complex, but their common purpose is to help the organization be as efficient as possible. The process involves understanding what the organization’s end users need to accomplish, studying workflow and procedures, then creating or improving systems that accomplish these tasks. It also often includes analyzing and acquiring commercial software to meet the users’ requirements. Computer Systems Analysts usually work on teams, especially for complex systems.
Computer Systems Analysts Skills and Abilities
Technology is a fundamental part of being a Computer Systems Analyst, so you should be completely familiar and comfortable with using today’s computers and networking in all of its forms: mainframes, personal computers, and hand-held devices including tablets and smartphones. In addition, you will need:
- Expertise in computer programming and systems development
- A logical mind
- The ability to focus in on details
- Good communication skills, both verbally and in writing
- An orientation toward customer service
- Comfort with being a team player
- Knowledge of best-practice standards, including when and where to apply them
Computer Systems Analysts often specialize in a particular business sector, such as banking, transportation, food services, or education. For example, you will find the hiring manager at a university most interested in applicants with a background in computer systems for higher education.
Computer Systems Analysts Duties
Since Computer Systems Analysts are found in almost every type of business organization, duties may vary widely. However, there are certain tasks that are common for this position. They include:
- Discussing, understanding and analyzing end user requirements for system functionality
- Designing efficient workflow for the tasks to be automated
- Applying appropriate technology tools and components to meet the end users’ needs
- Developing project plans
- Testing systems at various stages for accuracy and completeness
- Documenting how systems work, especially from the end users’ point of view
- Training end users in how to use the systems
Computer Systems Analysts Tools and Technology
You will use a wide variety of technology tools as a Computer Systems Analyst, including project management software, modern programming languages, information database systems, and report writers. In addition, you will use up-to-date communications hardware and software, such as smartphones, texting, and social media.
Education and Training for Computer Systems Analysts
Most Computer Systems Analysts today have Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees, and many have Master’s degrees. Only a small number (less than five percent) have no college at all. Generally, the Bachelor’s degree will be in some area of computer science or engineering, and Master’s degrees are often MBAs with a concentration in information systems.In addition to initial education, it is also very important to stay current in the field of technology while you are working. This can be done through continuing education classes and subscriptions to professional publications, and by taking advantage of training opportunities that your employer may offer.
Computer Systems Analysts Salary
Computer Systems Analysts generally earn good money. They are highly sought after, especially the ones with experience. On average, Computer Systems Analysts earn in the range of $78,000 to $85,000 a year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow faster than average for the next seven to 10 years, with around 20,000 projected job openings each year, nationwide.
Computer Systems Analysts Jobs by Geography
Technology is a great field to be in these days, and there are many opportunities for Computer Systems Analysts in every state. In general, larger states will have more openings with higher-paying jobs, but this position is found everywhere and earns a good salary regardless of region.